Customers and banks would benefit from more streamlined regulation of financial services, says the British Bankers' Association (BBA).
BBA chief executive Angela Knight says consumers, industry representatives and government should discuss how they could encourage business to grow and ensure they correct customers’ mistakes more easily.
Knight welcomes the Financial Services Consumer Panel’s (FSCP) response to the European Commission's green paper on financial regulation, which calls for statutory regulation of financial services.
She says, however, the consumer lobbying group’s recommendations do not go far enough and it is time for a “root and branch review” of services and credit regulation.
She says: "Banking and financial services in the UK is a truly global business and needs the right regulatory framework to continue its success. The industry provides jobs for over four million and each day processes millions of transactions providing everything from savings and overdrafts to mortgages and business financing.
“Without the continuing viability of the industry UK plc the government would have a black hole in its finances, the balance of trade gap would widen and we would all be facing an even deeper pension's crisis.
“Banks need clarity about which regulator deals with what and deals with what and we cannot continue with a system where you can be judged wanting over here – and then hauled over the coals for the same thing by someone else. And often all at the same time. This would help customers as well as a simple straightforward system would made it easier to sort out problems."
The BBA has published its own annual report, which says UK banks offer cheaper services to customers than almost any other country in the developed world.
The annual report also provides an update on efforts to reunite consumers with forgotten or dormant bank accounts. The BBA says it is stepping up its efforts to reunite customers with their money in the run-up to the Government's unclaimed assets scheme. It is also working with trade body the Building Societies Association and National Savings & Investment to help customers reclaim their money.
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